I am really excited, my van is taking shape, all kitted out with what we need for a "grand tour” This year we plan to travel through France and then down one side of Italy and up the other. Painting and plein airing all the way. As usual this is a working trip and I will be taking commissions. Filling sketchbooks and making larger paintings.
Having spent the last few years traveling and painting in France, each trip getting longer, the vehicles that I take seem to get bigger as do the paintings! I started off with a tiny painting kit, ancient miniature watercolour box and smallest Moleskine sketchbook, last year I was painting 1.8 m plein air watercolour, using the side of a VW transporter as an easel.
On that trip I spent five and a half weeks in the VW, sleeping neatly curled around my painting equipment. After that I decided that it was time to equip myself with a proper mobile studio. One that could not only take as much gear as I needed but also provide accommodation that was comfortable and affordable to enable me to take a longer trip. I have my sights set on Italy for a three-month trip. Fortunately, I have a great assistant, one that does almost all of the driving, all of the cooking and most of the cleaning up! Perfect.
We sold our VW transporter, my assistant sold his Harley Davidson (now that is commitment!) and we found ourselves a mobile home, a little old but well cared for and, most importantly, a left hand drive. We have spent some time making it comfortable and colourful and last week we got the outside “Illustrated” so now I won’t forget what my job is or which van is mine. I used some of the drawings that I have done for a soon to be published book to give the idea to casual passers-by that this is an “Artists Van”
The trip is still in the planning stages but the van is getting better and better daily! There is plenty of storage inside to take all my kit, easels, paints, oil and watercolour, canvas and boards, dry media and lots of sketchbooks. The van has an eight-foot awning so painting in the shade will be possible wherever we stop. It will have bikes on the back for forays into tiny hidden villages and trips to markets.
The trip should take about three months. Begining in September. Details to follow but if you know of anywhere that you think would be great for an artist to visit please let me know.